What Do I Need to Study to Become a Translator? - Translator Requirements

What Do I Need to Study to Become a Translator? - Translator Requirements

Translation might seem like easy work to those who do not translate for a living. The truth is that translation can be a very demanding career. You will need to be passionate about culture and language to be successful. Although fluency in two or more languages is the only official requirement, language skills alone will not make you a good translator. You will also need to be aware of several different cultures and dialects. Finally, you should consider specializing to make yourself more marketable. Once you decide which languages you are interested in and what your specialty will be, you can decide what to study.

While in college, you should take as many language courses as you can. Try majoring in translation if your college provides that option. Otherwise, major in a language. Although majoring in your source language might be the best option, you can also consider majoring in your native language. Translation requires an above-average understanding of one's native language, so an English or writing degree would be extremely helpful. While in college, you should also try to study abroad if possible.

The other option is to major in a specific field, and then leverage your knowledge to start a career in translation. Many translators work with texts on physics, engineering, health, or other technical fields. A working knowledge of these industries will allow you to translate more accurately and will also make you more marketable. Although you can choose to major in both your chosen language and your specialization, this option can be expensive and time-consuming. A better option is to simply pick one major, then pick up the necessary skills as you go. As long as you have a bachelor's degree, you can get started in translation.

As a professional translator, your education will never be complete. Consider pursuing additional degrees or certifications to enhance your creditability. You should also keep up with current language trends. No matter how well you speak your chosen language, constant study will improve your accuracy, understanding, and overall competency. Finally, keep up with your current specialization or even learn something new. Certain industries, such as technology, change constantly. You will need to learn current jargon and industry trends in order to translate texts easily. Learning more about language and other cultures will be easy if you love what you do. The best translators are adaptable, lifelong learners.

-By Adriana Tassini

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